If you have IBS, or any kind of ongoing gut problem, you'll know it's important to listen to your body. I have lessons to learn when it comes to listening to my body.
For me, living with IBS has meant that I have had to be intentional about eating well and exercising. These come reasonably naturally to me (or maybe it's just years of habit). But slowing down and listening to myself - to my body and my mind, that is an ongoing practise. I have a strong resolve, which is a poetic way of saying that I'm stubborn and have more than once worked myself into the ground in my determination to achieve something. A couple of years ago during the last week of my degree I broke my ankle - a stress fracture from running. Focused on the tasks at hand and determined to get though this crucial time, I felt it couldn't be all that serious despite the pain telling me otherwise. I walked around on it for six weeks before getting an x-ray and diagnosis.
Sure, there were other factors at play here - a misdiagnosis from an osteopath I had been seeing being the main one. But I also lacked the ability to pay attention to my pain, to stop and listen to it. Humans are like this, we do a lot to avoid or dull our pain, rather than letting it speak. The thing is that if we can learn to listen to a little pain, we can save ourselves from a lot later on.
As I've started to practise listening to my body, particularly my tummy, I've found that is has a lot to say - not only about the food I put into it, but about the world around me. It lets me know that something is bothering me before I am prepared to acknowledge it. This has all been part of my emotional education, which cannot be separated from my physical health - as much as I would like to pretend that it can. I'm learning, one day at a time, to slow down, to listen, and to respond to what my body is telling me.
Our culture urges us to work harder, run faster, buy more, be more. But I encourage you to quiet the external voices, do whatever it is you need to help yourself stop, and listen to your body.
Speaking of slowing down, here is a recipe that requires a little forethought. But only a little, I promise. It's bread made from quinoa, and it is the best thing I have found in my years of hunting for a good gluten free bread recipe. The texture is almost cake-like it's so smooth, and it's not crumbly at all! There are a couple of rules with the quinoa bread:
- Don't skimp on the salt.
- It will taste about 4000% better if you toast it.
- You need a blender of some kind (I use an immersion wand but a regular blender will work).
That's all! Give it a go and enjoy!
Quinoa and Olive Bread
1.5 cups white quinoa
1.5 cups water
1 tbsp baking powder
1tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1.5 cups gluten free baking mix
1/4 cup olives
1 tsp dried rosemary
Place quinoa in a bowl and cover with water, about 3cm above the quinoa. Soak this overnight or for at least 8 hours. The quinoa softens up and sprouts a little bit. Drain and rinse.
Preheat your oven to 180°C, and prepare 2x loaf tins by lining them with baking paper.
Put the quinoa and 1.5 cups of water in your blender/vessel for blending with wand and puree until smooth. Add flour, baking powder, vinegar, olives, olive oil, rosemary and salt. Blend again until smooth. If you like at this point you can also add walnuts or sunflower seeds or probably a couple of handfuls of any kind of nuts you like. Blend them a little if you want but also you don't have to!
Divide the mixture evenly between the tins and bake for 45-55 minutes.